Friday, April 27, 2012

Saint Augustine, Florida (April 2012)

As explained on the About page of this website, I started this blog to focus on first-class restaurants that are not exclusively vegetarian, yet treat vegetarians as equals.  When I visit a new destination, I intentionally do not limit myself to the 100% vegetarian/vegan eateries.  Instead, I follow the advice I have provided on the Travel Tips page of this website and research the destination's best restaurants, hoping to find one or two that appear to accommodate vegetarians. 

That is what I did before a recent trip to Saint Augustine, Florida, and my research was promising.  One of the city's most popular restaurants offered two different tofu dishes, and another offered several meat-free tapas.  I was excited to try both places.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed.  While they both had great ambiance and wine, their food simply was not good.  The tofu at the first place tasted like fish, and the tapas at the second place were seriously lacking in flavor and fresh ingredients. 

So, when local residents -- omnivores, no less -- insisted I check out The Present Moment Cafe, I was intrigued.  The Present Moment Cafe is located in a casual but cheery space not far from the historic district and specializes in raw, unprocessed, vegan cuisine.  As a vegetarian, I consider myself pretty healthy, but even this seemed a bit over the top for me.  Yet, the manager of the greasy snack bar at my hotel who, by his own description, "loves steak as much as the next guy," was crazy about this place. 

Disappointed in the restaurants I already had visited, I figured I had nothing to lose.  I stopped by for a light lunch, and my only regret was that I was not hungry enough to eat more.  My salad and smoothie were not only delicious, but extremely satisfying. 

The Present Moment Cafe's signature kale salad is massaged with red pepper, avocado,
tomato, and lemon garlic-olive oil and topped with candied pecans and sprouts.
Although I was not able to sample as many items as I would've liked, I feel confident recommending this place, as diners at the table next to mine (who, based on their conversation, clearly were not vegetarians) could not stop raving about the food they ordered.  If I ever find myself back in Saint Augustine, I look forward to having another meal at The Present Moment Cafe! 

Present Moment Cafe on Urbanspoon